Oxytocin Release during the Meditation of Altruism and Appreciation (Arigato-Zen)

Soho Machida, Masataka Sunagawa, Toku Takahashi

Abstract


A number of modern researchers have studied the relationship between religion and health. In every religious tradition, virtues such as self-sacrifice, altruism, and appreciation have been considered quite essential. Arigato-Zen (AZ) (Gratitude Zen) is an easy and simple voice-meditation developed by Dr. Machida, which motivates the feeling of altruism and appreciation. By performing AZ, one is able to cleanse the negative subconscious memories that underlie problematic phenomena. Hypothalamic oxytocin (OT) plays an important role in the ability to form social attachments, including parental care and pair bonding. It has been shown that social interaction is important to adapt to our daily life stress via the OT expression. It is hypothesized that OT is stimulated via the AZ meditation of altruism and appreciation. Using saliva samples, OT levels were measured in 32 participants before and after AZ. Salivary OT levels were significantly increased after AZ from 66.3 ± 6.7 pg/ml to 90.6 ± 18.7 pg/mL (M ± SE, n = 32, p = 0.028). AZ practice is a quite unique type of meditation, which combines voice-vibration system and traditional Zen meditation in order to synergistically stimulate OT system.

Keywords


Buddhism; Dopamine; Loving-Kindness Meditation (LKM); Religion; Social Attachment; Serotonin

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